Putin: Syria chemical attack was provocation against Assad

He singled out President Trump's calls for increased military spending on the part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies as particularly troubling to him.

Addressing the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) here in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said India has traditionally been respecting nature and desisted from exploiting it.

Putin went on to say there's "no specific evidence, no facts, just assumptions allegations and conclusions based on allegations, nothing more".

He called for efforts to maintain and even accelerate the current positive situation of economic growth, in a bid to ensure that Russian Federation achieves its previously set goal of realizing a growth rate higher than world average by the year 2020. He compared repeated US assertions that Moscow deliberately tried to undermine Clinton to "anti-Semitism" and said it was like "blaming the Jews".

He said the allegations of Russian hacking into the Democratic National Committee overshadow the fact that the leaked emails were genuine and revealed unpleasant truths.

South Africa said the USA has a "moral obligation" to support poorer countries in the global effort against climate change.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak's meetings with members of Trump's team have been a focus of the congressional investigation.

Putin pointed to the third successive quarter of growth in the economy and said that the level of foreign investment had climbed to a three-year high despite ties with the West hitting their lowest ebb since the Cold War ended.

During the campaign, Trump similarly dismissed increasing alarm in the USA that Russian Federation was purposefully targeting the US political system. We didn't even come close to that.

Putin said the attack was a provocation meant to put the blame on the Syrian ruler, insisting that "Assad didn't use those weapons".

"We need to create the conditions for joint work because if such big emitters of greenhouse gases like the United States won't take part at all we won't be able to agree and sign an agreement on this", said Putin.

Mr Putin also said that he wouldn't judge Mr Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, but that America would have had a better bargaining position to change the accord if the country had stayed in the deal.

Modi also sidestepped a question on which side he stood after Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change accord.

"Now we can dump it all on him and American imperialism", Putin said.

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